Castle Rock

There’s a rock outcropping in Big Bear, California called Castle Rock. The view is as regal as the name, with panoramic views of deep blue lake water surrounded by a sea of green ponderosa pines stacked to the horizon like an incoming swell. In just a mile from your parked car, adventurous of all ages traverse their way up to this famed spot to drink in the unparalleled view from the top.

Though I’ve made the short hike dozens of times since I was a kid, I still experience that heart-in-my-throat feeling when I traverse the last boulder ledge while trying not to look at the drop below before being rewarded with the view I have etched into my memory.

Its one of those places that is worth savoring not only because of the view, but because of the work it took to get there. Drinking in the oxygen rich mountain air alongside the view redefines what it means to feel alive.

A perfect pairing with some good wine, indeed yet I would never consider packing a breakable glass bottle into my backpack. I don’t know what would be worse, the sound of glass breaking when I slip on that same section of loose soil or look on the other families faces when they see the boozer pull out a full bottle of wine while they’re pulling out their water bottles and energy drinks.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about anything other than how I’m going to get down off the massive rock formation next time I’m there as I drink in the perfect trifecta of mountain air, majestic view, and my Malbec Nuvino.